Social network has fast become a dominant way that people interact with each other. Most racers have twitter accounts that they use frequently to reach out to their fans. Social network became a point of controversy this year at the Daytona 500 when Brad Keselowski tweeted photos of Montoya's car crash while the red flag was out. Just last week when Mark Martin's twitter account was violated by a hacker, Martin was visibly upset that he could potentially lose touch with his fans.
Given the importance of social media, how well has NASCAR and Formula one gathered momentum in this area? Here, I look at Facebook, which has about 800 million user accounts globally. Which type of racing do the Facebook users follow: NASCAR or Formula One?
I did a quick tally per select countries using the hash tags #NASCAR and #Formula One. I provide the counts in the table below (as of March 25, 2012). Each unit is 1 user account.
Here are some things I observe from the figures:
- Both NASCAR and Formula One have fractions of their fan base (the figures they each claim) following them on Facebook. Only 4 million fans are linked up to them via Facebook. Formula One has fewer fans linked up at 2.8m.
- As a point of reference, football has 27.9 million followers worldwide.
- More reference points: baseball has 10 million followers, hockey 4.5 million, bowling 4.3 million, table tennis, 3.7 million. Curling has 857,000. Yes, curling. Shockingly, both NASCAR and Formula One are lagging bowling. Formula One is far behind table tennis.
- US is extremely tilted toward NASCAR. Canada is also dominated by NASCAR fans, although not as many accounts exist there.
- Europe, as expected, is Formula One dominant. There aren't as many Facebook link ups in that region though.
- Asia numbers are anemic. Tilt there is towards Formula One.
My conclusion is that both NASCAR and Formula One have lagged in getting traction on Facebook. The participation rate in relation to the overall fan base doesn't seem strong. It also lags sports that have smaller constituents in terms of following. Between the two, NASCAR has done better, mostly owning to US and Canada. Rest of the world is dominated by Formula One.